Every mom wants the same thing for their kid: that they are safe, that they are well and that they have friends.
This past fall, my son, Ben, came to me and cried on my shoulder. He said, ‘Mom, I so lonely. So lonely, Mom. The heart hurt. So lonely!’
I told our UCP Service Coordinator about it and she found a man named Cal for Ben. Now, on Saturdays, Ben paces in his coat at the window, waiting for his new friend, Cal. They are a couple of guys looking for adventure! On Wednesdays, Ben will say, ‘3 more days, then T-riffic!’ That is how Ben describes Cal, ‘T-riffic!’
They recently went to the LOV Dane talent show. Ben and Cal got ready for the show. They baked cookies and packed them up. Ben said, ‘Bye, Mom. No moms, only mans, only Cal” as they went out the door.
He and Cal headed to the talent show, just the two of them. Ben was totally into it, proudly presenting his cookies for the potluck and clapping for the talent of peers. Ben even got up and sang a song for the group and proceeded to dance with his new friends!
Then, Ben danced with his new friends. Take a look at the picture. He looks like any other 23 year old man. You see youth. You see engagement. You see joy on their faces. You see safe, appropriate wellness put to music. You see Cal, UCP Respite Care Provider, supporting Ben, helping him see what it is like to have a man buddy and to hang out as ‘only mans.’
This week, Cal plans to take Ben to the library to get books. Then, they will head over to Madison College to study the books in the library. Cal will help Ben to buy food there, interact with others and navigate the college. Ben is in training for life in the community which includes friendships, further education, skills and hope!
Every mom wants the same thing for their kid: that they are safe, well and surrounded by friends.
I rejoice in UCP’s gift of all three of these treasures to my son!